The Library Connect program
Chances are if your child is a K-12 student in Multnomah County, they already have a library card! The Library Connect program allows students to have instant access to books, online resources, movies, music and more.
Students in Centennial, David Douglas, Gresham-Barlow, Parkrose, Portland and Reynolds School District can come to Multnomah County Library any time and use their school ID card to check out items. Their school ID is already connected with our library system.
More than 100,000 students have full access to Multnomah County Library thanks to this program. Of these students, two out of three did not have a library card previously.
One family that moved to the Portland area went into the library with intentions of getting library cards. When North Portland Teen Librarian Isy Ibibo asked if the children had started school yet, and they said they had, she told them this most likely meant they already had cards because of the Library Connect program.
“The whole family was excited to hear it. I asked for their names and birthdays and looked them up. The mom was stunned at how quickly we had gotten them set up with Library Connect accounts since they hadn’t been in the school system for very long,” says Isy. “Everyone agreed that it was such a cool service that we offered!”
Librarians are connecting with students within the library, but there are also staff members who have been going to schools and sharing information about Library Connect with teachers and students. Of these staff members, there is a dedicated full-time librarian focusing on developing this transformational relationship between the public library and school districts.
Youth Librarian Brianne Williams spent some time at Whitman Elementary last spring, sharing information about the library, Library Connect, and giving books to students. “It was such a thrill for me to be inside a school again, talking with kids! The teachers were so grateful for the books, and so were the kids,” says Brianne.
The K-5 students Brianne connected with had great feedback to share about the books. One student shared “I love Zoey and Sassafras! I’ve read a bunch of the others, but not this one.” Another student said with delight “this jumbie book looks really scary. I only have three chapter books at home. I really need another one. Thank you!” These giveaway books and more are made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation. These incentives have provided opportunities to engage students about Library Connect resources and build relationships with students and educators.
With the Library Connect program there is something for every age in the K-12 range. For elementary and middle school students there are ebooks, audiobooks, comics, TV from Hoopla and documentaries from Kanopy. For grades 9-12 there is even more! With a collection for teens at OverDrive Teens, there are curated books and even digital copies of some of their favorite magazines from the Libby App. For teens thinking about the PSAT or SAT, they can find sample tests, live homework help, and other resources too.
The Library Connect program can help all year. During the summer when students are out of school and looking for something to do, “you can come in and immediately start borrowing books, ebooks, music. Or if you want to watch a movie, log on to Kanopy,” says Youth Services Project Librarian Kate Carter.
“If your kid automatically has an account, how about getting a library account for yourself too as a form of modeling reading and library use?” says Kate.
Library Connect reduces barriers to access of library resources for kids and families. There is no longer a barrier of having to come in and sign up for a card, or even having to do the online form. You and your students can access all that the library has to offer.
For more information on Library Connect, go to https://multcolib.org/libraryconnect